A week at DEMA: Why divers should care if their instructors and divemasters attended

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Journey of a SCUBA Dawg

As reproduced from “Journey of a SCUBA Dawg, People, Places, and Experiences. Let’s Go Diving!” by Jonathan Warner

This year’s DEMA (Dive Equipment and Manufacturer’s Association) Show was held in sunny Orlando, Fl the week of November 11, 2019. Yes, while much of the country was shivering with heaters blasting, your dive professionals were enjoying 80-degree temperatures while catching-up on the latest and greatest trends in the SCUBA and water sports industry.

One might think its an opportunity for dive shops to check out the latest gear for the holidays and the coming year’s sales cycle, and of course a bit of partying with colleagues. While this is true, and yes, the parties were way cool, the DEMA Show is much more and divers should want their shops participating and here is why:

Education

All of the major training agencies listed on your certification cards: TDI/SDI/ERDI, PADI, SSI, NAUI, and many more host critical updates for their certified professionals, which means divers should have confidence that their dive shop staff is fully trained on the latest rules, regulations, laws, policies, and procedures for their particular agency.

Training agency updates are key to ensure program quality and consistency

Having a highly visible presence is DAN (Divers Alert Network), which is THE authority on diving health and safety, and which provides workshops from Day 1 all the way to the end of the conference on health and safety issues directly related to SCUBA and free diving training in both confined and open water – this alone is worth the time and cost of attending.

Product Knowledge

Dive pros get asked all the time questions such as “what is the best computer under $500?”, “should I buy a 7mm wet suit, or go for a dry suit?”, or “what is a re-breather and why is that cool?” Equipment manufacturers representing products like these and many other products take the time with whoever wants in-depth information to ensure the full scope of knowledge on these products is available. This is not a consumer show, so the manufacturers’ representatives are spending lots of time with industry pros to ensure they understand the new products completely so they can go back home and properly sell this equipment to the consumers.

Jonathan, Chris, and Erik from 20K SCUBA and Aquatics checking out the latest dry suits from DUI

All the coolest toys represent…you know you want one! Many equipment manufacturers also provide training for dive pros authorized to service gear, which have ongoing re-certification requirements for techs servicing regulators, BCDs, computers, etc.

Getting ready for training on the new line of SEAC regulators

Diving is also about experiencing all of the wonderful destinations worldwide the sport of SCUBA presents to divers.  The professionals at your shop can help take the guesswork out of where to go next.  

Rebecca explains to Jonathan why a dive trip to Utila Lodge is special

Relationships

Whether a dive pro has been in the industry one year, or 10 or more years, it becomes apparent quickly that this is a relationship industry. Whether its meeting-up with travel planners from across the county or across the world, to the manufacturer representatives your dive pros work with via phone and email, to even folks you know from the shop across town, dive industry folks that understand the importance of these relationships and cultivate them are better positioned to provide you, the diver, with the best possible quality and service.

Jonathan Warner of 20K SCUBA and Francesco Gambino, After Sales Manager at SEAC Regulators, establish a good rapport. Having a good relationship with equipment manufacturers means better service for SCUBA customers.

Look at your dive shop’s social media page and you may see a picture of your shop owner and staff going out to dinner, having a few drinks, and also working together and building relationships with each other, which benefits YOU, the customer.

Some after hours playfulness at the TDI party

So, this holiday season, whether you are shopping for stocking stuffers such as lights, computers, reels, SMBs, or larger gifts like BCD’s, rebreathers, or regulators, don’t forget to ask your dive pros what they learned from their week at the DEMA Show. Happy Holidays to all and have another year of safe and fun times underwater!

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